Last December, Elementz volunteer board member Fred Neurohr attended Happen Inc.’s New Year’s Eve fundraiser. Neurohr, a Northsider and Secretary on Northside Community Council, started 2014 on the right foot by winning the raffle’s grand prize, a Genuine Buddy 125 scooter, which had been donated by Metro Scooter and the Mighty Ohio Scooter Club. “The scooter itself features a custom paint job,” explains Neurohr. “Kids at Happen created art specifically for the scooter, and artists recreated their work directly onto the scooter itself.”
The scooter is truly one of a kind, for more reasons than one, and his kids were really looking forward to going for rides around the neighborhood. After a family meeting Neurohr and his wife decided keeping the scooter for themselves would be impractical, and a new scooter raffle was conceived. “My children hate this decision,” admits Neurohr, “because they don’t get to ride this unique creation.” This time, the fundraiser will support one of Neurohr’s personal passions, Elementz.
Elementz proudly describes itself as an urban oasis of hope and a catalyst of change for Cincinnati’s inner-city youth. Founded as a way to get kids off the streets in 2001, Elementz has since transformed into a thriving arts center that encourages urban youths to follow their dreams and aspirations. They host classes and programs that include music production, turntablism, and more.
On Sunday, June 1, the custom painted Buddy scooter will be re-raffled as part of Elementz’s Hip Art event, where thousands of raffle ticket holders are expected to attend. The event will take place from 6PM to 8PM at Washington Park, and the funds raised will be split “50/50” between Elementz’s Studio Kre8v (pronounced “creative”) and “Art in the Market” programs.
Elementz’s Studio Kre8v class boasts some of Cincinnati’s most talented youths. The program specializes in hiphop dance, but also focuses on building social skills, too. “Members of Studio Kre8v want to compete in an international dance competition in Las Vegas,” claims Neurohr. Thanks to him, these young dancers might get their wish.
Meanwhile, the “Art in the Market” program is a cooperative effort involving University of Cincinnati’s prominent D.A.A.P. program, where teenagers take art classes specializing in graphic design, graffiti, and more. “Art in the Market” takes place every Wednesday from 4pm to 6pm.
Elementz has already begun selling raffle tickets, both paper and online. Publicity for the event will be fortified by the “The Spirit of Tafari,” Elementz’s debut documentary which will premier at Cincinnati’s historic Esquire Theatre on Wednesday, May 7. Under the direction of Elementz Creative Director Abdullah Powell, “The Spirit of Tafari” tells the story of a young man who wandered into Elementz three years ago, a decision that changed the direction of his life. HighTafari McDade, looking to put his rough childhood behind him, used music to find his own identity. The film bears witness to the positive influences of those who gave him a helping hand, including holocaust survivor Werner Coppel. Werner came to Elementz for several weeks last summer to learn filmmaking, and developed a friendship with Tafari during the course of the making of the documentary.
For more information about Elementz and their Hip Art event, visit their official website at www.elementz.org.
By Nick Mitchell